POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 25, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 04:54 p.m. HST, Nov 25, 2013
NAPLES, Fla. » The only trouble Shanshan Feng faced Sunday was figuring out how to light the cannon that signaled the end of the LPGA Tour season.
She made the golf look easy at the LPGA Titleholders.
Two shots behind going into the final round, the 24-year-old from China ran off four birdies in the opening six holes to seize control, and she closed with a 6-under 66 to win by one shot and claim the richest prize in women's golf.
It also was her second win this year, which meant as much to her as the $700,000 check.
"I had a goal to win two tournaments," she said. "I won in China. I didn't think I was going to achieve my goal, and I made it in my last tournament in Florida."
Feng said her win last month in Beijing required a little luck -- a shot that took a bounce out of the rough, raced across the green and crashed into the flagstick to set up a tap-in eagle.
Sunday was sheer skill.
Feng was in such control of her game that she missed three birdie chances inside 6 feet in the middle of her round that kept the outcome in doubt until the end. Gerina Piller stayed within one shot of Feng, and she hit a 7-iron into 10 feet for a chance at birdie to force a playoff. The putt narrowly missed, and Piller had to settle for a 69 and her best finish on the LPGA Tour.
Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand had a 70 and finished alone in third.
Feng finished at 15-under 273, the number she had in mind at the start of the day -- even if it didn't result in a win.
"Before I started, I never thought I was going to win," Feng said. "I knew I was only two behind. But I thought all the people in the last group were really strong competitors."
No one was stronger than Feng, who played the final 31 holes without a bogey.
Natalie Gulbis, tied for the 54-hole lead with Pornanong and Piller, wasn't up to the task. Going for her first win in six years, Gulbis didn't make a birdie until the 14th hole, and by then she couldn't stop a spectacular slide. Gulbis closed with an 82.